July 16, 2024

Gamine faces six in Ballerina; Yaupon, Lexitonian among eight in competitive Forego

Gamine wins the Test Stakes (NYRA/Coglianese Photos)

Saratoga will offer a pair Grade 1 sprints for older runners, the $600,000 Forego S. and $500,000 Ballerina H. for fillies and mares, on Saturday’s Travers Day undercard at Saratoga.

$500,000 Ballerina H. (G1) – Race 7 (3:02 p.m. ET)

A winner in 8-of-9 career starts, champion female sprinter Gamine looms as a probable odds-on favorite against six rivals in the 7-furlong Ballerina. The four-year-old showed an affinity for Saratoga last year, shipping in to win the seven-furlong Test S. (G1) by a seven-length margin, and the Bob Baffert-trained filly is exiting a 10-length score in the July 5 Great Lady M. S. (G2) at Los Alamitos.

The bay daughter of Into Mischief has captured her last four outings, and Gamine will spot her rivals 3-to-12 pounds as the 126-pound highweight. She breaks from post 1 with regular rider John Velazquez.

The Ballerina will award a free berth to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) as a “Win & You’re In” race.

Ce Ce has been given a 123-pound impost following her 3 1/4-length victory in the July 3 Princess Rooney S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park. Winner of the Apple Blossom (G1) and Beholder Mile (G1) at two turns last year, the five-year-old mare has cut back in distance successfully this season for Michael McCarthy, rolling to convincing triumphs in both starts at Saturday’s distance. Victor Espinoza will be in to ride.

Grade 2 heroine Sconsin, a convincing winner of the Winning Colors (G3) at Churchill Downs two back, will try to make a late impact. Greg Foley conditions the four-year-old Include filly, and Irad Ortiz Jr. takes the call. Princess Rooney runner-up Estilo Talentoso, winner of the Bed o’ Roses S. (G3) two back, is also part of the mix.

$600,000 Forego S. (G1) – Race 8 (3:37 p.m. ET)

Grade 2 winner Yaupon, a convincing winner of the 2020 Amsterdam S. (G2) at Saratoga, will bring high speed to the seven-furlong Forego. The four-year-old colt will square off against seven foes.

After winning his first four starts, Yaupon sustained his first setback when faltering as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Keeneland last fall. He didn’t fire when returning in the Golden Shaheen (G1) overseas in late March, but the Steve Asmussen trainee rebounded nicely in the July 4 Lite the Fuse S. at Pimlico, scoring by nearly two lengths. Ricardo Santana Jr. rides.

Lexitonian will try to make it two straight following a 34-1 upset in the July 31 A.G. Vanderbilt (G1) at Saratoga. A head second in the Churchill Downs S. (G1) three back, the five-year-old recorded a frontrunning win last time, and Jose Lezcano will be up for Jack Sisterson.

Mind Control, winner of the 2018 Hopeful (G1) and 2019 Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) at Saratoga, will return to the Spa following a victory in the July 4 John A. Nerud (G2) at Belmont Park. The five-year-old makes his second start for Todd Pletcher, and Velazquez will guide.

Champion sprinter Whitmore, winner of the 2019 Forego, will try to make a serious impact in the final furlongs. The eight-year-old gelding has dropped all four starts this season, but he has placed every time, including a third in the Vanderbilt. Joel Rosario takes over for Ron Moquett.

Grade 1 victor Mischevious Alex, a two-time stakes scorer this season, will try to make amends after an eighth as the favorite in the Vanderbilt. He breaks from the rail with Irad Ortiz. Firenze Fire, a nine-time graded stakes winner, also merits respect. An earner of more than $2.5 million, the six-year-old will look to strike from just off the pace with Jose Ortiz.